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How to Get an Instant Auto Loan

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Getting an instant auto loan may seem difficult. You may find yourself in a situation where you need to get approved for a car loan fast. Maybe your car broke down and needs to be replaced immediately, or maybe you’ve just accepted a job offer where public transportation is not an option. Perhaps you have come across your dream car and can’t wait for it to become yours.

Whatever the reason, you could get an instant auto loan and expedite the auto financing process, which typically can take hours, or even days. Here’s how to get an instant auto loan with less hassle.

What is a same-day or instant auto loan?

A same-day or instant auto loan is a loan that can be approved in less than an hour, as long as you meet certain criteria. Since instant car loan companies come with different requirements and interest rates, it’s important to comparison shop before deciding which company to go with for your instant auto loan.

Bank Of America and U.S. Bank are two national banks that offer instant auto loans directly to consumers. Navy Federal Credit Union advertises that its instant car loan decisions are made “in seconds.” If you bank at a credit union or low rates from an online lender catch your eye, you can also check there to find out whether same-day auto loans are available.

In some cases, instant car loan companies will want to know exactly which car you’re interested in. In other cases, you’ll simply get approved for a certain amount. It will depend on the company you decide to go with for your instant auto loan. If you’re shopping for a used vehicle, you’ll likely be required to provide the lender with the car’s VIN. If you’re unsure of how much money you need, the lender may provide you with a blank check that has an upper limit. The amount you write on the check after negotiating at the dealership will be the amount financed. This could include any taxes and fees but it should not include your down payment. The amount financed is your loan principal — it’s what you’ll need to pay back along with interest.

Why would you want to get an instant auto loan?

As with all financial products, instant auto loans come with several benefits and drawbacks. Let’s dive deeper into what they are.

Pros

  Negotiating power: If you get an instant auto loan, you’ll have more leverage to negotiate an even better rate with the dealer’s preferred lenders. You’ll know the auto loan rate for which you qualify, so it’ll be easier to determine if a dealer is offering you a marked-up APR.

  Saving time: By getting an instant auto loan, you can shorten the auto financing process and drive away in your new (or used) car quickly.

  An affordable car loan: An instant auto loan can give you the chance to find out what you can comfortably afford before going to the dealership, reducing the risk of the dealer upselling you a more expensive vehicle.

  Confidence. You’ll already know you’re approved for a car loan, so you’ll be confident at the dealership.

Cons

  Can be difficult to obtain with bad credit: If you have less-than-stellar credit, an instant auto loan may be more challenging to get. You may need to provide more documentation than someone with good credit, which could slow down the process.

  Some instant car loan companies are scams: Unfortunately, there are some companies out there that claim to be legitimate and offer quick car loans but are actually fraudulent. Be sure to check the legitimacy of a company before giving out your personal information. Upfront fees, an insecure website and no credit check are all red flags indicating a company is trying to scam you.

  A hard credit check is run: Every time you apply for an instant auto loan, the lender will run a hard credit check, which has the potential to lower your credit score. However, it doesn’t hurt your credit to apply to multiple lenders any more than it does to apply to one if you do so within 14 days.

How to get a same-day auto loan if you have good credit

Getting a same-day auto loan should be easy if you have a FICO Score of 660 or above. This range is considered to be good-to-very good credit.

If you have good credit, you’ll need to provide an ID like your driver’s license or passport, proof of income, proof of residence and vehicle information including year, make, model and mileage. In the event you’re trading in a vehicle, loan information or a title will be required as well.

Keep in mind that if you have good credit, you have the power to find competitive offers from multiple lenders. Don’t be afraid to let lenders know you’re shopping around and on a mission to find the best deal.

How to get a same-day auto loan if you have bad credit

Although getting a same-day auto loan with bad credit can be difficult, it is possible. If you have a FICO Score of less than 660, you may have to deal with high interest rates. But there are several ways you can increase your chances of getting approved for a same-day auto loan. You can consider a less expensive vehicle, pay down a hefty down payment, and/or provide additional documentation like your utility bills or cellphone bills that display your name and show you have a history of making payments on time.

You’ll need to bring along the same documentation that you would if you had good credit in order to apply for the instant auto loan. You’ll need to provide an ID, proof of income, proof of residence and vehicle information. Details on your loan or your title will also be necessary if you’re planning on trading in a vehicle.

5 steps to get a good deal on an instant auto loan

Here are five tips that can help you get a good deal on an instant auto loan.

1. Review your credit report

Before applying for an instant auto loan, review your credit report. If you find any errors or fraud, go through the process of correcting them. While this may take time, it can help you land more favorable terms on an instant auto loan.

2. Get the fair market price of the vehicle and your trade-in

Get an idea of what the going price is for your vehicle of choice. Edmunds offers a tool that lets you configure a car and find its average market price in your area through its True Market Value or TMV tool. Alternatively, you can check out a site like Kelley Blue Book to find out what a fair price might be for your chosen car and discover what a trade-in might be worth.

3. Aim for an APR below 5%

If you have a credit score of 720 or higher, aim for a car loan APR below 5%. In the event you don’t have the best credit, you may have to settle for a higher APR.

APRs for closed auto loans by credit score on the LendingTree loan platform (2020)
Credit score Average APR
720 or higher 5.49%
680-719 7.21%
660-679 10.07%
640-659 13.39%
620-639 14.71%
580-619 17.65%
560-579 17.44%
Less than 560 18.36%
Credit unknown/invisible 22.66%
All borrowers 9.46%

Source: LendingTree.com customer data

4. Compare offers

Rather than going with the first instant auto loan company you find, take the time to compare offers. Once you’ve received responses from multiple lenders, review them and determine the best deal. Consider additional charges and fees instead of only paying attention to the interest rate. Compare them to dealership and manufacturer offers as well.

5. Visit the manufacturer’s website

Many manufacturers offer rebates and incentives on new car models that can be worth thousands. There may also be low interest rates and special deals to customers who have good credit.

Shop around

Think you got a less-than-stellar deal from an instant car loan? If so, you have a few options. If you have bad credit, focus on improving your credit history and refinance your loan in a year or two to land a lower interest rate and more favorable terms.

If you have good credit, keep shopping around. Get a price quote from various instant auto loan providers and dealerships. You don’t need to sign the first loan offer you receive. There are deals out there to suit all types of lifestyle and budget.  You could fill out a single online form on LendingTree and be matched with up to five potential auto loan offers from lenders, depending on your creditworthiness.

Alternatives to instant auto loans

A few alternatives to instant auto loans include:

Dealership loans

If you’re unable to get an instant auto loan, you may still get an auto loan fairly quickly through a dealership. Dealerships have their own network of banks and you may get approved with one of them.

Keep in mind, however, that there are a few disadvantages of going this route. Dealership financing isn’t always transparent as dealerships frequently inflate consumer auto loan APRs and take the difference as profit.

Personal loans

Personal loans can be used for virtually anything, including buying a car. If you are unable to get a good deal on an instant auto loan, you may want to find a personal loan through a bank, credit union or online lender. Keep in mind, however, that a personal loan may come with origination fees and prepayment penalties.

Instant auto loan FAQs

How can I get a car loan fast?

You could get a car loan fast if you apply online to a lender of your choice, such as a bank, credit union or online lender. Most lenders that offer auto loans directly to consumers give fast credit decisions.

Can I get an auto loan completely online?

Yes, many lenders offer completely online auto loans.

How quickly can I get an auto loan?

Depending on your creditworthiness, you may get an auto loan offer within one minute after filling out the paperwork.

How can I get a auto loan with bad credit?

A cosigner and a large down payment may help you to get a bad credit auto loan.

 

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